Friday, February 25, 2011

The People we Meet

Daryll writes:

As we continue on our journey north to Buenos Aires, we spent a few days riding and camping in the rain.  After a few days of being wet and the tent damp, my mood took a downward turn as it wasn’t fun anymore.  At one of the rest stops, we went inside the service station to warm up with a glass of hot chocolate each.  As we sat there contemplating on how long we wait and if the rain and biting cold wind will ever stop, we met a German couple (Drogbar & Dieter) who were traveling in their overland truck.  We got chatting and learnt that they were on the road for the last 10 years and have had various vehicles over that time. 

Dieter explains that this is their life and that they normally go back to Germany for their 6 week “vacation” every year.  It so happened that we were both headed for the same coastal town, we were planning on camping at the Municipal Campground and they were just going to park on the beach.  We decided to meet later that evening.  It was going to be 70km to this little beach town and we had to backtrack to get back onto the main route to continue north the next day so decided that we will fill up when we come back the following day.  Big mistake!

That evening, we fought with the tent to get it into the ground as the fierce wind blew in off the Atlantic.  Later that evening, Dieter had found us and had suggested that we join them for a drink in their truck after dinner as the only Restaurant in the town was closed.  We had a quick bite to eat and wondered over to the warmth of their overland truck and watched one of the DVD’s that Dieter had made off their trip across Russia, Mongolia, China and Tibet.  It was inspiring stuff to chat to the both of them over some fine boxed red wine.

The next morning, we packed up early and headed to the gas station to re-fuel for the day’s ride; only to learn that the YPF was out of gas and wasn’t expecting any for another day.  So we had another hot chocolate to warm up and asses how far we could go on the gas we had.  Another customer had suggested that there was a gas station 60km north of where we were.  We could do 60km, but the next town was 170km away, and we certainly couldn’t get both bikes the 170km.  I drained about 3 liters of gas from my bike and added it to Angela’s bike to make sure that we didn’t have to stop on the highway in the rain and wind and try and transfer gas from my bike over.  We rode slowly hoping that the gas station was open and had the precious liquid that we were looking for and it did and once we filled up, the fear of being stranded in the wind and rain had disappeared and we were in full riding mode.

Over the next 2 days, we made good time and decided to push on to a town called Viedma.  This one is to all those bikers that are reading this that are planning a similar trip in the future.  Don’t stay in Viedma as there isn’t a Municipal Campground there anymore.  We found this out around 5pm, after doing about 500km that day.  It took a while to find the spot and after asking for directions twice, both a police officer and a cyclist directed us to an open lot, that resembled a campground, but was now a construction site for a new highway going through the town.  Darn it!  I asked a few kid riding their bicycles in the open lot if there was an alternate camping spot, and they had suggested that there was one 30km back the way we had come.  I was reluctant to give up that quickly as I would have noticed camping as we entered the town.  This campground used to be along the river, and there was two rowing clubs in the vicinity, so I decided to venture over to one of the clubs as there was people milling around to see if we could camp on the grass surrounding their club house.  I ended up speaking to the President of the club and the Coach and they were reluctant to let us camp and also suggested the camping 30km south of where we were.  They had said that they will get into trouble with the police if they let us camp on their property – weird, oh well. 

As I walked towards Angela and the bikes to give her the bad news, that we need to come up with a new plan, they called me back and offered us a spot where we could set-up the tent for the night.  It was perfect, the club was shutting down for the evening, so we had the entire area to ourselves and watching the sun set over the river was peaceful.  The Coach, I think he was said that he lives at the back of the building and was leaving and will come back around 10pm.  I thought fine, we would be asleep by then. 

As we were preparing dinner, a biker pulls up and comes to talk to us.  As it turns out,m he was one of the rowers that was there earlier in the evening and had come back to talk to us and offered to take us for a ride around the town.  As we had a long day, we declined, but we spent some time chatting non the less.  Guston had purchased his Honda 250cc 4 months ago and it was shining, so you know he took pride in his ride.  Before he left, I gave him a sticker and in return, he took off his bike key from his key chain and handed his key chain of a saint (not sure what saint it is) to me as a gift.  That’s just the type of people we meet every day. 

After dinner, we watched a movie on the laptop and called it a night.  It must have been a couple hours later, I hear a rattling on the tent and a guy yelling at us.  Oh no – could it be someone yelling at us for camping here.  As I open the tent, Angela hands me her headlamp and I realize that it’s the Coach.  It’s now 11pm, he’s just got back and wants us to move our bikes inside the building were the kayaks and canoes are as he says that they will be safer.  I really wasn’t going to argue with him, so we quickly pushed both bikes inside the building and he had said that he will leave the door unlocked so we could get them out in the morning.  Yup, that’s going to be safer.  He was really nice and asked if we already had dinner and then suggested that we could use the stove in the club house for breakfast.  The next morning, I pull the bikes out and bid farewell to another new friend.

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